FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Memphis native Justin Timberlake returned to his home state for one of his few performances this year to declare his love for Tennessee.

Timberlake performed on Saturday in Franklin, Tennessee, at the Pilgrimage Festival, a 3-year-old music festival that he now co-produces and is conveniently close to his current home in Middle Tennessee.

The pop singer and actor joked to the capacity crowd of more than 25,000 fans that he was nervous about performing at home.

“Half of you I might be related to,” Timberlake said.

He surprised the crowd by reuniting with country star Chris Stapleton and his wife Morgane, after their breakout performance with Timberlake on the 2015 Country Music Association Awards.

The three sang “Tennessee Whiskey,” a country song made famous by George Jones and now Stapleton. They also sang “Fire Away,” and “Sometimes I Cry,” both from Stapleton’s multiplatinum record “Traveller.”

The addition of Timberlake as a performer helped boost attendance numbers for the new music festival, about 30 minutes south of Nashville.

Timberlake closed out the performance with his hit songs “SexyBack,” ”Rock Your Body,” and “Can’t Stop the Feeling.”

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KRISTIN M. HALL
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